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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading, with the Nikkei rising 1.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite falling 1 per cent. European markets are lower with the exception of Spain and Italy, both up 0.1 per cent. In the United States, futures point to a positive open.
- European finance ministers agreed today to give the ECB sole regulatory power over banks in the euro area. EU Financial Services Commissioner Michael Barnier said the new supervisory mechanism should be ready for implementation by March 1, 2014. The agreement represents an important step toward further integration in the euro area.
- Yields on 3-year Italian government bonds fell to 2.5 per cent at today’s auction, marking the lowest borrowing costs for Italy since October 2010. Spain also completed a successful auction, selling the longest-dated debt it’s been able to issue in over a year.
- The Swiss National Bank voted to leave rates on hold at 0 per cent at today’s policy meeting and left the EUR/CHF floor at 1.20. SNB President Thomas Jordan said he could not rule out substantial interventions in the future to protect the price floor. Looking ahead, Deutsche BankFX strategist George Saravelos writes, “the SNB will be important next year even by its absence. The central bank has been one of the largest active investors in global FX and fixed income markets this year.”
- In its monthly bulletin, the ECB weighed in on the austerity debate in the euro area, writing, “well-designed consolidation leads to a permanent improvement in the structural balance, while the deterioration in growth, if any, is only temporary.” The bulletin also reiterated the view that financial fragmentation in the euro area is on the decline, according to recent indicators.
- Google will make its map application for the AppleiPhone, reports All Things D. This comes after Apple’s proprietary mapping app was met with horrible reviews from iPhone users.
- Advance retail sales figures for November rose 0.3 per cent versus expectations of a 0.5 per cent rise. Retail sales less autos were flat, as expected.
- Initial jobless claims fell to 343K this week versus expectations of 369K. Continuing claims also beat expectations, ticking down to 3198K.
- The producer price index rose 1.5 per cent from last year in November versus expectations of 1.8 per cent. The ex-food and energy measure rose in line with expectations at 2.2 per cent year-over-year, after a 2.1 per cent rise the month before.
- Business inventories round out the economic data in the U.S. at 10 AM ET. Economists project inventories to have risen 0.3 per cent in October, after having risen 0.7 per cent the month before. Follow all of today’s data releases LIVE on Money Game >
- BONUS: The Spice Girls’ new musical opened to mostly negative reviews.
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